Saudi to resume flights to Iraq after 20-year hiatus

10:57, July 15, 2010      

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A privately-owned Saudi airline is set to launch the first direct flights from the kingdom to Iraq this week, restoring aviation links between the two countries after over 20 years of hiatus, Saudi Arab News newspaper reported Tuesday.

Alwafeer Air will launch on Thursday a flight from Jeddah to Iraqi capital Baghdad on Thursday, the first since the kingdom suspended flights to Iraq after Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The airline will initially run a weekly flight from Jeddah to Baghdad and two flights a week from Jeddah to the southern city of Basra, Saleh A. Bogary, Alwafeer Air's marketing director, was quoted by the Saudi paper as saying.

The first flight will carry 450 passengers to the Iraqi capital, he noted.

"A test flight landed at Baghdad airport in Sunday ahead of the resumption of full-fledged commercial operations," he said.

Bogary also said that the airline plans to operate a flight to Sulaymaniyah, an Iraqi governorate in the Kurdistan region.

The oil-rich kingdoms stopped flights between the two countries after the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, which led to the first Gulf War. The attack strained relations between the two Arab countries with the suspension of flights was indefinitely kept, even after Saddam was ousted from power in 2003.

Source: Xinhua


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